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How to Build Rapport With an Interviewer

What does building rapport look like in the context of a job interview? Rapport is defined as a harmonious relationship, built on mutual understanding, where communication is facilitated easily. This could be described as a connection or being on the same wavelength as the person you are engaging with.

While your experience and competency are crucial factors when securing a new job, your ability to establish a rapport with your interviewers is also significant. Engaging and building rapport with your interviewers can help you leave a lasting impression. When conducting an interview, employers will typically ask the same questions for each candidate, generally focusing on your previous experiences, ability to do the job, and how you would fit into the culture. By being prepared for the interview, and answering questions confidently and politely, you’re more likely to establish a connection with the interview panel and create a lasting impression of your suitability for the role.

Here are four ways you can build rapport during an interview:

1. Make Conversation With Your Interviewer

Finding mutual ground between yourself and the interviewer is a surefire way to build rapport. Prior to the interview, research who you are meeting by reviewing their LinkedIn profile. Check out articles they may have authored or commented on. This will give you an idea of topics that they may be interested in so you can bring them up in the conversation. Take a look at where they went to school, or if they volunteer for any organizations. You never know what commonalities you might have that will make for a great interview conversation. Small talk can also be created by actively listening to what the interviewer is saying and empathizing with or referring to a similar experience.

2. Ask Questions During the Interview

Asking questions throughout the interview creates a more comfortable atmosphere in a professional setting. It demonstrates that you are listening and actively participating in the conversation, rather than simply reacting to each immediate question asked of you. At the end of the interview, take the opportunity to ask more questions about the company, role or hiring process; and note that this is also an opportunity to clarify or expand on a previous point mentioned or share additional information that you feel adds value to your application.

3. Engage With Who You’re Speaking To

Building rapport is often established not by what we say, but rather how we say it. We are trained to interpret nuances in tone, body language and how facial expressions can shift throughout a conversation. Showcase your personality by smiling and making strong eye contact.

4. Send a Follow-up Email

Establishing a good rapport is crucial during the interview but sending a thank you email after the interview can help you maintain it. It shows your interviewer(s) that you appreciate the career opportunity and the time it took to speak with you. Taking the time to extend gratitude indicates that you are serious about pursuing a future with the company.

Make conversation, ask questions, be engaged and follow up to build rapport with an interviewer.

With more and more companies placing greater emphasis on cultural alignment, showing your personality and being engaging during the interview is a must to establish a good connection from the start.

For interview tips and information on how to build rapport, visit our Aston Carter website for more career content.

*This article was originally developed by Aston Carter EMEA and adapted for Aston Carter North America.

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